Hello there, Matte, how are you? Everything Ok there in Vienna?
Hi Wim, good to finally talk to you. Yes, I am fine. We are preparing right now for the soundcheck. We know this venue so that will not take that long. Meanwhile I also have to do some business work because you know I am also responsible for the Sound Of Liberation agency. It is pretty busy right now.
I was very impressed by the show in Cologne. Not only of the music of both My Sleeping Karma and Colour Haze, but also because of how crowded it was. Is the tour going well and is it crowded everywhere?
I think we could not have picked a better place to start the tour. Cologne was just great. But to be honest, it is great everywhere! We play in venues with capacities of somewhere between 500 and 1000 people. And not only Germany is going well, we also sold out in Paris and in London. In Holland we played in Nijmegen and they moved our gig from the small venue to the big one, because the small one was sold out. So that is just great. And you are right: it is a double bill package. My Sleeping Karma play a full 75 minute show. It is better for the music and therefore for the crowd that we play first and that the jams of Colour Haze are second.
So you are on tour right now to promote your new live CD, ‘Mela Ananda’. Why did you want to release a live album: is it a document especially for the fans or is it a dream come true for the band as well?
Well, is was not really planned. It just happened to be the (right) time to release a live album. Of course we have been around for more than 10 years and at times you start thinking about maybe doing a live album. We did not just want to record a live album, we want to give the fans something special. A great document. So that is why the CD comes with a live DVD, with live recordings and a documentary. As you probably know, it is very difficult to sell live albums. There is not that much interest from the media and therefore from the fans for a live CD. We will see what is brings us. We are satisfied with the result.
What is the difference, if any, between My Sleeping Karma in the studio and My Sleeping Karma playing live?
Well, I think the difference is not that big. And that is because we always try to create the same atmosphere while playing live, that we create on our studio recordings. For most bands it is the other way around: they want to create their live feel on CD. We are completely satisfied with the way we sound on our albums, that is My Sleeping Karma throughout. For instance, we don’t play long jams only because we play live. What we think is important is our overall sound, our ability to vary with dynamics, tempo, etc.
And what is the difference between My Sleeping Karma in 2017 and My Sleeping Karma ten years ago?
The sound of the band has evolved over the years of course. We have become better musicians and four better musicians will make one bad better also. What is also different is the fact that we are more experienced now of course. We know how to write songs, how to record them the way we want to, we know what touring means, etc. Things happen more organically which is nice. You know, we did not start the band to become a famous rock band. We met each other in a period of our lives that we loved to drink beer, listen to music and discuss politics. So in the beginning there was never anything said or done about playing in a band. That also happened organically. The only good way I guess. We said to each other that playing in a band was a hobby: family first you know! And we all have daily jobs so the band is always in third of even fourth place. We can only tour during vacations, we can only write and record songs when we have a few hours of spare time. That is also the reason that we build our own studio: we saved money for a few years to do so. And now we do not have to hire expensive studio time elsewhere. Steffen, our drummer, deals with all that.
There are more bands that play instrumental music. Mogwai. Long Distance Calling, Explosions In The Sky, Tides From Nebula, and so on. When you have to describe My Sleeping Karma, how does the band differ from other instrumental bands?
Good question and I know what you mean. You only have to hear a few seconds from all those bands and you know which band it is immediately. But you know: I do not like to compare bands or music. So I do not really know why we differ from those bands. I guess because of the characteristic sound of Seppi’s guitar for one thing. If you want to describe our music with one word, that word should be ‘hypnotic’. That is what our music is about. A description I also like is ‘chill out rock. And yes, we are song orientated, not a jam band.
Can you tell a bit more about the Hinduism and the Buddhism the band is always busy with? Your album titles, your song titles, your band name, your art work, etc. What is it all about?
That is actually a long story Wim, but I tell you the short version. You see, that interest also happened organically. First there was the band. Then – after a while of rehearsing – there was our music. That was the time we did not even have a band name. A friend of ours told us that our music reminded him of something oriental. So that is when the Hinduism and Buddhism came in. We started reading about it a bit more and so that interest grew. My Sleeping Karma was a perfect band name and it was the starting point of using titles based on Hinduism etc. And since our last albums we have a great guy and friend of ours, Sebastian Jerke, who is responsible for our album artwork, which I guess is very recognizable right now. He also does artwork for bands like Ahab and we think he is brilliant. He listens to our music, starts reading in books about Hinduism etc. and then he starts his artwork creations. He takes his job very serious. So to summarize: Hinduism and Buddhism came second, there was music first.
Well, I think you have to go to do the soundcheck. Thank you very much Matte for taking the time to talk to me, that is very much appreciated. Hope you have a nice one tonight and the rest of the tour.
No problem, Wim, my pleasure. Hope your readers check out our music and hopefully they enjoy it